For some time now it has been my privilege to tell you about Audubon's latest conservation victories and of how your support is making a difference. Now, I want to share the news of my decision to step down as Audubon¹s leader.
I am completing my 15th year as President of Audubon. That's longer than anyone has served in this position for more than half a century. For me and for Audubon, it's time for a change.
After much contemplation, I have decided to leave my post as President, but anticipate continuing to work with Audubon in another capacity to advance our conservation agenda. Our Board of Directors met yesterday by conference call to accept my resignation and appoint former Audubon Chief Scientist Frank Gill to serve as Interim President while the organization conducts a nationwide search for a new leader.
I am very pleased and grateful that Frank has graciously agreed to step in as Interim President. I originally recruited Frank to Audubon from the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, where he served as Vice President. He is also the past President of the American Ornithologists¹ Union and author of the acclaimed textbook Ornithology 3e. Most recently, he has been a Member of Audubon¹s Board of Directors. Anyone who knows Frank will attest to his exceptional knowledge of birds and habitat, his tremendous analytical skills, his creativity, and his commitment to conservation and to Audubon. Frank understands both the unique power of the Audubon network and the many challenges facing the natural world. With your help, he will ensure that the organization meets those challenges and seizes new conservation opportunities. He has my full confidence and support.
On a personal note, I am very proud of all this organization has accomplished over the past 15 years. With your help, we refocused Audubon to better protect birds, other wildlife and their habitats, to build the next generation of conservation leaders. We decentralized the organization to bring our mission of nature discovery and conservation closer to people through our network of Chapters, State Programs, Audubon Centers and Important Bird Areas. We demonstrated our capacity to achieve landscape-scale conservation in key areas from the Everglades to the Arctic, and to protect Important Bird Areas internationally through our partnership with BirdLife International. And we used our urban Audubon centers to inspire and engage a new cadre of conservationists who better reflect the changing face of America.
I plan to take some time off to "go birding." But I am not retiring. I will continue working in conservation, and it is my hope and desire to do so in another role connected with the Audubon team.
For now, let me thank you for your support of this great organization and for the privilege of having played a role in Audubon's conservation legacy. It has been an honor.